Did you see the webinar that I did with the fabulous Coaching Emily last Thursday as part of my Virtual Book Tour? If not, great news, you can see it here…
It was a fantastic experience and the time flew past, meaning that it is actually over an hour but, hopefully it’s worth it.
Once you’ve watched the webinar you will know that there is our unique community supporting people after cancer on Facebook, set up by a qualified coach and health psychology specialist – Coaching Emily herself! If you’re not already a member, you can request to join the group here…
Already signed up, no worries, that means you are already entered into the draw!
Hope you are enjoying the Virtual Book Tour. I am having the best time doing it, but would love to hear what you guys think, so please do let me know. And don’t forget that we have LOADS more coming up. I have a book review coming on The Writing Garnet, I am giving an interview at TEND Nutrition, a guest blog post about writing at Womb Cancer Support UK, a webinar about how to get started writing at Coaching Emily, my Birthday Giveaway draw, and a review at Through the Looking Glass… Plenty more to keep you entertained.
It has begun! That first day of my Virtual Book Tour and I am so excited… especially as I am starting off at the completely fabulous Nicola Jane.
Nicola Jane know everything that there is to know about post-breast surgery fashion. From mastectomy bras to swimwear and everything in between they have you covered.
They wrote a fabulous section in my book, full of styling tips and information for shopping after breast surgery and I feel very honoured that they asked me to be their first ever ‘Book of the Month’ in the community part of their website.
Nicola Jane Book Of The Month: March
Wednesday, 1st March 2017
Introducing our Nicola Jane ‘Book of the Month’ for March: “The Fabulous Woman’s Guide Through Cancer” by Nicola Bourne
As a way of highlighting the fact that it is World Cancer Day I thought that I would answer a few of the questions I’m repeatedly asked about my cancer experience, so here we go…
What was the best thing that someone did / bought for you when you had cancer?
People are always asking me this because they want to know how they can help someone else. You don’t need to wait to be asked to do something, no one is going to mind you turning up with a casserole, they will love it, but equally don’t expect to eat it with them or be messaging twice a day asking for the dish back because that just makes it stressful. Do things without expecting anything back.
The gifts I appreciated the most were uplifting DVD’s (keyword uplifting) and microwaveable gloves and booties as your extremities can get very cold when you are having chemotherapy.
Do your children know you had cancer and how did you talk to them about the illness?
When I was diagnosed my son had just turned two years old and my daughter was three months old. My son could see I was very sick so we always explained it in a language he would understand. Things like, mummy has an owee and the doctor is giving her special medicine and we have always tried to encourage both kids to ask plenty of questions.
As my kids got older they’ve asked more questions which I have answered as honestly as possible so they now know that I had an illness called cancer. They also know that the reasons we do so many Cancer Research UK campaigns is because they raise money to help people like mummy get better and I just love being able to tell them that! My wish is that one day every parent can tell their child that they are cancer free.
It is really tough being a mum whose sick, there are no two ways about it. I actually wrote an article about coping strategies and the subject gets a whole chapter in the book because being a mum with any long-term serious illness has such a massive impact.
Was writing a book about having cancer therapeutic?
It was but it wasn’t always easy. I remember when writing about (and reliving) the moments that I was so low I wanted to give up, I came away from my computer crying. But at the same time, that was what I wanted, an honest account that did approach the harder emotional parts of having cancer, so I felt I had to go through that. I think that, combined with the time that has passed, definitely helped me come to terms with what I went through.
Have you got an advice to anyone wanting to write about their cancer experience?
I think writing is a unique and amazing way to process emotions, good and bad. Obviously you don’t have to keep a blog or write a book, it can be private thoughts just for yourself. If you do want to publish, I think WordPress is an excellent blogging platform, it’s what I use. If you want to write and don’t know where to start, check out a book like Let It Out by Katie Dalebout which gives prompts and different ways of looking at your illness.
What is it like for you when people donate to Cancer charities?
Ok, so the only people who ever ask me this are cancer charities but it really is an AMAZING feeling! You feel like people are doing something very personal for you and your family – they are helping to ensure that you live. It feels incredibly personal and incredibly moving. I feel the same way about people who volunteer in charity shops. Because of YOU, I was offered a type of chemotherapy that my mother, 8 years earlier, wasn’t. The fact that people I don’t know and never will are actively doing something which helped save my life is a very unique and powerful feeling that I can’t fully articulate.
If you want to be one of those amazing people – great news – you can! Give whatever you can to the cancer charity of your choice and know that you are doing something this World Cancer Day to literally change the life of someone with cancer!
With love & Unity! x
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Going through Christmas and New Year when you have cancer can be a strange thing. It becomes more poignant, more emotional, more lovely, more sad, more everything… I know from first hand that heightened emotions that come from big occasions and family get-together can therefore become a little stressful and require a lot more planning. That’s why I wrote about attending any big occasion in my book, but with Christmas tomorrow (how is it here already) I thought I would share a couple of Top Tips that I found made Christmas easier…
1. THINK THE DAY THROUGH
In your mind, walk through the day so you can get your head around how the day is expected to play out. For example if you are visiting your parents for the day it may be something like:
It’s a two-hour drive there and I will need to take painkillers during that time so I must have some water and fruit with me in the car
I’ll wear something comfy in the car and change into my outfit when I get there so I need to pack my outfit
We aren’t eating until 4pm but I will need a snack to take medication with at lunchtime so I will take some nuts for then
I need to change plasters at 2pm but we will be having a pre-lunch walk then so I need to make sure I do it before we leave for our walk and take plasters with me.
Doing this should help take out the element of surprise and make it less nerve-racking.
FABULOUS TIP – I find it easy to remember to take medication when I am at home but when I come out of my normal routine I easily forget. Set a reminder on your phone to make sure you don’t lose track of what you need to be taking and when.
2. YOUR HANDBAG
This will be your home away from home whilst at an event, but to save you walking around with a bag that is gong to break your shoulder, I would go for the cute little bag that holds your phone and the bits that you would normally take out with you and then a second bag for medical supplies, change of outfit, whatever it may be, that you can leave in the car / under the table for if and when you need it.
FABULOUS TIP – Take double the number of the essentials you need. If you know you will need two painkillers during the time period, take four. That way if you get caught in traffic or end up staying later than planned or anything like that, you know you’re covered.
3. YOUR OUTFIT
If you need to change bandages or plasters, make sure they are easily accessible in what you are wearing – or that you will be able to go somewhere and change when needed.
Have your outfit completely ready to go before-hand and that means everything – tights, fascinator, coat, underwear, wig, scarf, literally the whole outfit from top to bottom, including everything that you need in your handbag. Will save you panicking on the day because you can’t find the right denier tights.
4. KNOW WHEN TO LEAVE
Don’t feel like you have to be the last one to leave. Do as much as you can and when you start to feel like it is enough, tell your host that you are starting to feel unwell and have to leave.
I found tiredness would creep up on me and suddenly I would be beyond exhausted. Once I was at that point of exhaustion, I would be knocked out for the next few days and the pain would then be difficult to stay on top of, so it was always best for me to leave before that point.
5. LET IT GO
Having said that, we all need a blow out every now and then – especially when going through something like cancer, so don’t feel bad if you do get caught up in the moment and spend the next few days paying for it, just enjoy yourself, you definitely deserve it!
I wrote the first edition of The Fabulous Woman’s Guide Through Cancer around a year and a half ago. I received some wonderful feedback (thank you all). I also received requests for more information about certain aspects. I realised there was still so much more to say. Some people suggested I write a second book but I decided to update this book. I wanted anyone to have all the information they needed, not to need to buy more than one book. And so that is what I did, I set about writing an UPDATED EDITION of the The Fabulous Woman’s Guide Through Cancer.
The UPDATED EDITION still retains the essence of the first edition, combining self-help practicalities with personal memoir but it is nearly double in length, now at 366 pages. Each chapter includes even more information, there are additional chapters, plenty of fabulous an inspirational quotes and even more personal memoir setions and practical, useable tips.
The layout is improved making it easier to locate specific sections. The text is broken down into bite size chunks, boxes, italics and bullet points – ideal if you are suffering from chemo brain. There is more practical information that will be useful for friends and family, or for women with cancer to give to their friends and family.
I am so proud of this book. I hope that women and their friends and family continue to find it useful. As I said in a recent interview, “knowing that I have been able to use my love of writing and turn something so negative into something positive that can help others, is quite simply amazing.”
I can’t wait to hear what you think. As always, please leave comments on Amazon, Good Reads and let anyone you think may want to know, all about it.
So much love and thanks x
“Nicola’s style strikes a great balance between the chatty, informal, supportive voice of a friend as well as being clear, practical and pragmatic. It is an invaluable companion for any woman going through cancer and for any friend looking to support the fabulous woman in their life.” – Bibliomaniac